Criss Cross Applesauce

I used to come into the classrooms at UCP’s Early Beginnings Academy and I talk a LOT.

“Okay everyone let’s sit down in the circle.”

“Oh you have new shoes – awesome!”

“Ok everyone sit down. Stop pulling her hair. Don’t pick your nose. Come on let’s all sit down!”

This year, I am making a concerted effort to use less spoken directions and more sung directions.

Why? It’s different. It gets the children’s attention. It’s simple, it’s organized, and it’s rhythmic.

“Criss Cross Applesauce” is a song I came up with on the spot for those times when the children’s legs are wiggling in the middle of the circle and they should be “criss-crossed.”

That’s me drumming the guitar! I’ll use the rhythm to organize the children OR I will pat my knees to demonstrate how their legs should be crossed, and usually the children start patting along with me.

The results are noticeable – when I use sung or rhythmically spoken directions, the children seem to stop what they’re doing more quickly, shift their attention to what’s going on in music therapy, and follow the directions to criss cross their legs. Magic? Nope, it’s music!

Now I want to hear from YOU! Do you use sung or spoken directions when working with young children?

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] /